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Tick, Tick, Boom | St Mary's Creative Space, Chester

Disley's Theatrical Productions brings 'Tick, Tick, Boom' to St Mary's Creative Space in Chester for one weekend only. A perfect example of community theatre at its finest, Disley's Theatrical Productions brings to life one of the most sincere and thought-provoking musicals of all time.

Tick, Tick, Boom is the semi-autobiographical musical of musical mastermind, Jonathan Larson. Based on the rock monologue performed by Larson in the 90s, we follow Jonathan's life as a struggling musical producer as he is edging towards his 30th birthday. This musical explores the decline of Larson's relationships and mental health as a result of being a struggling artist waiting for his big break and DTP does this in such a heartfelt and captivating way.

As a ninety minute one act show, Tick Tick Boom is crammed with an array of Jonathan Larson's rock influenced songs. Whilst it feels like the songs are coming at you thick and fast, it feels completely in place as Larson had a way of telling a story through song. Phil Cross, who plays the role of our protagonist, demonstrates a masterclass in singing through song in order to portray his distress at his struggles.

Set inside of an old church, this production worked really well. Within the confinement of a small stage with scaffolding and a selection of small props, which suit the vibe of this musical, the cast members truly brought the story to life. It was joyous to watch the cast make full use of the gorgeous space, with Cross and Calum Craine, who plays Larson's best friend Michael, coming into the audience as part of their performance of the song 'No More', which was hilarious and definitely one of the highlights of the evening.

With clever direction, the story is brought to life with limited fancy technology or set design, through the use of sound effects and lighting to create the desired atmosphere. For example, whilst working in his mundane everyday job, there are sound effects of the bustle of a busy cafe, with coffee cups clinking and customers complaining. It was also lovely to see the live onstage band performing and also getting involved in the script.

It was also hilarious to watch the cast use multi-roles and taking over each other's roles in certain points, with all the cast showing commendable performances throughout. Ceri-Lyn Cisscone, who multi-roles as Susan (Larson's girlfriend), as well as Larson's erratic agent, to Larson's mother. Cisscone's vocal performance of 'Come To Your Senses' was my favourite of the evening. Craine is hilarious in the multi-role of Larson's father, coming into the audience to sit next to someone during the preview of Larson's musical 'Superbia.'

Another highlight of the evening is when Cross and Cisscone perform 'I Feel Bad' moving around the stage with extremely long telephone wires and getting intertwined, which I felt was an effective metaphor for the nature of the song.

This production of Tick, Tick, Boom is perfect for any doting Larson fans, paying a tender tribute to his legacy. A production which demonstrates the strength of the entire casts and creatives, Tick Tick Boom is very well put together and makes for the most joyous evening at the theatre. For more tickets and information, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Mark Carline


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